Connect with us

World

Wall Street eyes other economic members

Published

on

World

China reports first Covid death in more than six months as WHO investigators arrive

Published

on

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a child at a community Covid-19 testing site in Qiaoxi district of Shijiazhuang, capital of north China’s Hebei Province on Jan. 12, 2021. Shijiazhuang has started the second round of nucleic acid tests for all residents.

Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

BEIJING — Mainland China on Thursday reported the first new Covid-19 death since May as authorities try to control a spike in cases just outside of Beijing.

A woman in Hebei province died Wednesday afternoon, state media reported, noting her illness was a severe case and she had pre-existing health conditions.

The province surrounds Beijing and began to report a rapid increase in coronavirus cases earlier this month. In less than two weeks, authorities have locked down Shijiazhuang and other parts of Hebei province in an effort to keep the disease from spreading.

Hebei reported 81 new coronavirus cases for Wednesday, bringing the number of current cases to 463. The northernmost province of Heilongjiang reported 43 new confirmed cases for Wednesday.

The National Health Commission recorded Wednesday’s death in its daily report on the local coronavirus situation, the first addition to the overall toll since May 2020.

That brought mainland China’s coronavirus total deaths to 4,365 people. The first reported death from Covid-19 was on Jan. 11, 2020 in the city of Wuhan, where the disease first emerged in late 2019.

A team from the World Health Organization arrived in Wuhan Thursday to investigate the origins of the virus alongside Chinese scientists, according to state media.

The Chinese government has pushed back against implications that Covid-19 came from China. After the height of the outbreak in the country early last year, authorities attributed subsequent cases to foreign sources.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

India kicks off massive Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, Jan. 16

Published

on

Bangalore Airport workers transfer carton boxes containing vials of Covishield vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India in Bangalore, India, Jan. 12, 2021.

Stringer | Xinhua | Getty Images

SINGAPORE — India is gearing up for one of the largest mass vaccination exercises in the world starting Saturday.

The South Asian country plans to inoculate some 300 million people, or more than 20% of its 1.3 billion population, against Covid-19 in the first phase of the exercise.

Indian airlines have started delivering the first doses of vaccines to Delhi and other major cities, including Kolkata, Ahmedabad and tech hub Bengaluru, tweeted Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri earlier this week.

Priority for the shots will be given to health-care and other frontline workers — an estimated 30 million people. That would be followed by those above 50 years of age and other younger, high-risk individuals.

The rollout will involve close collaboration between the central government and states.

India has also developed a digital portal called Co-WIN Vaccine Delivery Management System. It will provide real-time information on “vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries,” according to the health ministry.

India has a long history of immunization campaigns … and will rely on this expertise to distribute coronavirus vaccines.

“India’s expertise in vaccine manufacturing and experience with mass immunization campaigns has prepared it well for ‘phase 1’ vaccinations set to begin this weekend,” Akhil Bery, South Asia analyst at Eurasia Group, wrote in a report this week.

“India has a long history of immunization campaigns, including its Universal Immunization Program that inoculates 55 million a year, and will rely on this expertise to distribute coronavirus vaccines,” he added.

Emergency approval

India’s drug regulator has approved the restricted use of two coronavirus vaccines in emergency situations, both of which are being delivered to the various inoculation centers ahead of Saturday.

One of them is a vaccine developed by British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University, which is being manufactured domestically by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and is known locally as Covishield.

Another vaccine, called Covaxin, was developed domestically by India’s Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research. It was granted emergency use authorization as clinical trials continue.

The approval of Covaxin was reportedly criticized by some as the regulator gave the green light shortly after asking Bharat Biotech for more analysis.

India’s health secretary on Tuesday said the Indian government has signed procurement agreements for 11 million doses of Covishield at 200 Indian rupees ($2.74) per dose and 5.5 million doses of Covaxin at an average cost of 206 rupees per shot, which is likely to be cheaper than what they will cost in the private market.

Several other candidates, including a second domestically developed vaccine by Zydus Cadila, are undergoing clinical trials.

Potential risks

India currently has more than 10.5 million reported coronavirus cases, second only to the United States. More than 151,000 people have died from Covid-19 in India, according to Johns Hopkins University data. But daily reported figures show the number of active infection cases are declining.

South Asia’s largest country is also the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer and is said to produce about 60% of all vaccines sold globally.

As such, India’s production of Covid vaccines is expected to play a major role in global immunization drives against the disease.

Eurasia Group’s Bery said that despite the government’s optimism, two important risks may potentially slow the rollout of the vaccination campaign.

“First, vaccine production capacity will be limited even in best-case scenarios,” he said, adding that if the local vaccine-makers cannot produce the 600 million doses required to inoculate the initial 300 million people, then “India’s immunization timeline — and its export of vaccines to other countries — could be significantly delayed.”

The second risk is that India’s vaccine campaign will rely heavily on state governments “whose capacities and expertise vary widely,” Bery said. “Effective coordination will be needed between the central and state governments, something that has not been (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s strong point.”

Source link

Continue Reading

World

High-end smartphones signal company’s innovation

Published

on

Continue Reading

Trending